What could be better than driving around the Great Western Catskills, enjoying the spectacular fall foliage? You could be visiting sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places at the same time!
With more than sixty sites to choose from, it is impossible not to find a history road trip to your liking. So grab the kids, a friend or head out on your own and discover the churches, bridges, schools, cemeteries and more that tell the story of the history of Delaware County.
Two prime stops on a history road trip are the Judge Gideon Frisbee House in Delhi, listed in 1976, and the Hanford Mill in East Meredith, listed in 1973. Both sites are central to museums that showcase the area’s historic past. The Delaware County Historical Association and the Hanford Mills Museum offer beautiful grounds, perfect for leaf peeping, and fonts of information for audiences of all ages.
Down the road from the Delaware County Historical Association you can drive through Fitches Bridge of East Delhi, one of the four wooden, covered bridges in Delaware County listed on the National Register of Historic Places. All originally built in the 1800s, and listed in 1999, the covered bridges in East Delhi, Hamden, Downsville and Lower Shavertown make beautiful foregrounds for photos of fall’s fantastic foliage.
With school back in session, it’s the perfect time to show the kids how much schools have changed. To see the one-room schoolhouses of the past check out District 10 School on Rt. 28 in Margaretville, listed in 1998, Schoolhouse #5 on Dunk Hill Rd. in Hamden, listed 2011, or Rock Valley Schoolhouse on Rock Valley Rd., listed in 2008. Make sure you see the privy out back behind District 10 School, as it’s a registered site too! Or head to Downsville where you can eat lunch at The Old Schoolhouse. The restaurant is located in the old Union Free School, listed 2004. Don’t miss a look at the belfry!
Both kids and adults can enjoy a tour of historic cemeteries to kickoff the Halloween season. The West Meredith Cemetery, listed in 2003, has graves dating back to 1807. Sidney’s Pioneer Cemetery, listed in 2007, dates to 1787. The West Delhi Presbyterian Cemetery, listed in 2008, is a great example of settlement era sites and stones.
As you cruise through the villages and towns of Delaware County you are bound to stumble on a Registered Historic District. Andes, Bovina, Churchill Park in Stamford, the Delaware County Courthouse Square in Delhi, Franklin Village, Gardiner Place in Walton, Main Street Roxbury, New Kingston, the Pakatakan Artists Colony and Sidney are all listed districts, comprised of multiple buildings of historical and architectural significance. So pick a town and make a pit stop to stroll the district, do some shopping and grab a bite to eat.
The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is meant to identify, evaluate, and protect the country’s historic resources. Many such sites of historic importance are recognized in Delaware County. A full list can be found through www.nps.gov/nr/. The farms, schools, churches, bridges, depots and communities that exemplify our past should be visited and explored. Why not take a drive and discover what our past has to offer?